Wherever he goes, Jay Cutler never gives a sucker an even break

Chicago Tribune 15 months ago

This is my last Jay Cutler column. I promise. Enough is enough.

By my loose count, this is No. 73, the number resulting from our common geography. First Denver, then Chicago, now my first team, the Miami Dolphins.

I was there before Don Shula, when afternoon newspapers existed to provide the West Coast baseball scores, a time lost and lamented.

You never forget your first car, your first kiss, your first job, and so the news that Cutler is now where I started, where he will end, no doubt, provides some sort of obligation once again to pay attention to the regrettably unignorable.

Cutler is like Michael Corleone in Godfather III. Just when you think he's out, he is pulled back in.

Some say this is at the expense of Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback with a conscience, who is younger and more accomplished, all in all.

Both men have detractors, each for different reasons, but only one of them has a former coach who needs a quarterback who knows his system.

Adam Gase, who is barely remembered in Chicago as one of the endless tinkerers of Cutler, is the Dolphins coach, a surprise to the incurious and, if truth be told, to Gase himself.

Nevertheless, there he is and there is nominal and notable Ryan Tannehill rehabbing and here comes Cutler all smiles and confidence with $10 million he would not have earned being a mush-mouth in the TV booth.

By all accounts, Miami is happy to have Cutler — his new teammates, Dolphin fans, bloggers, natterers, all those who form opinions about these things.

Cutler is never more greatly appreciated than when he arrives. Hope follows Cutler around like a rescue mutt.

"First impressions cannot be trusted but they last the longest. So it must be concluded off one brief rehearsal that new Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler is the greatest thing since raspberry jam."

I wrote that after Cutler's first appearance in an exhibition game. Tomorrow looked luminous. I was a sucker.

Still, Cutler made the Pro Bowl with the Broncos, something he did not do with the Bears, and his one playoff season in Chicago is a barely noticeable credential in a career bereft of true accomplishment.

"The Bears are now not only measurably better than they were, they have every right to believe that they are. The Bears have the best quarterback they have had since Jim McMahon, who was more a force of nature than a quarterback.

"The Bears now have the best quarterback in the NFC, no insult to Drew Brees. And they have him for the next decade. The Broncos should check and see if they still have their wallets and underwear."

I wrote that when Cutler joined the Bears. Tomorrow beckoned. I was a sucker.

Cutler is, after all, only what he could be, not what he should be. He will not be any more than what he always has been. He will only be less.

And yet, somehow, it is assumed that the Dolphins have moved up at quarterback, by accident rather than design, that Cutler is a blessing, a happy coincidence.

He is Brett Favre with more to give, or Peyton Manning, still with magic, or Joe Montana, not ready to go. Except, of course, he was never any of those.

The Miami newspaper of record asked in a headline if Cutler "is the most misinterpreted guy in the NFL?" The answer a thousand words later is, "uh, yes."

Well, I certainly have misinterpreted him, thinking him better than he turned out to be.

So, it seems, Cutler has done it again, pulled wool over eyes that inevitably will be filled with tears.

Spoiler alert: Cutler is what his record says he is, a half-decent disappointment, a busboy dressed like a waiter, a spare tire on a chrome rim, a teaser with nothing up his sleeve but an arm that, sooner or later, will throw the football to the other team.

"In five years Jay Cutler will have led whichever team he is quarterbacking to a championship, maybe a Super Bowl title."

I can't remember when I wrote that. I was a sucker.

Miami is a sucker.

Bernie Lincicome is a special contributor to the Chicago Tribune.

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